BRIAN VINER: The extroverted lovers of Abba are back and they are simply the tonic we need

My mother! Here we go again (PG)

Verdict: take a risk


Here We Go Again is the perfect title for this long-awaited sequel to Mamma Mia !, the 2008 success inspired by the music of Abba.

Not only does he carefully adapt one of the best known letters of the Swedish supergroup, but he also sums up the two ways of anticipating the new film.

There are millions who loved the first movie that now shouted & # 39; Here we go again & # 39; as an expression of breathless excitement, as they happily jump to the nearest multiplex.

Alexa Davies, Lily James and Jessica Keenan Wynn in Mamma Mia! Here we go again

Alexa Davies, Lily James and Jessica Keenan Wynn in Mamma Mia! Here we go again

Alexa Davies, Lily James and Jessica Keenan Wynn in Mamma Mia! Here we go again

But the same words can also be whispered in a spirit of cynical eye for those who thought the superficial and silly original and consider the sequel as little more than a license to print money, money, money.

Well, let the cynics retire. With the lovely Lily James and the indomitable Cher joining these super artists Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan, Mamma Mia 2, as I think we can call it, is a total explosion and just the injection of cheerful exuberance we need now same.

It is true that Brosnan has not yet learned to carry a melody. Not far away, anyway. And the plot is even less fleshy than a vegetarian moussaka and almost as useless.

But I was at the world premiere in London on Monday night and I can report that the crowd showed a huge collective smile from start to finish.

Even without the infectious euphoria of a premiere, it is bound to be heard by happy audiences. One of them will contain my good friend Avril, who still considers the original the best movie I've seen.

The cast of the original Mamma Mia! directed by Amanda Seyfried (center in the photo)

The cast of the original Mamma Mia! directed by Amanda Seyfried (center in the photo)

The cast of the original Mamma Mia! directed by Amanda Seyfried (center in the photo)

She stood up and applauded at the end, which was quite a statement at Ludlow Assembly Rooms, an audience not known for spontaneous displays of wild jubilation. I'm sure he will not be less enthusiastic this time.

The story begins a few years after the events narrated in the first film, still on the Greek island of Kalokairi, actually, the Croatian island of Vis, where Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and her husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) collided against a rocky patch.

He wants to dedicate his life to the hotel he opens in honor of his mother, Donna (Meryl Streep). He's in New York on business and willing to live there.

But it does not matter: this is not a movie to dwell on conjugal disharmony. Nor is it delayed more than necessary in a recent family death.

After all, the Grim Reaper has no place in Mamma Mia's sun-kissed and loving loves, except as a device of reluctant plot.

Soon, we go back to 1979, with James, seductively and with a lovely singing voice, playing the juvenile version of Donna.

He was not sure of the great opening number, the lesser-known song of Abba, When I Kissed The Teacher, breaking into an Oxford graduation ceremony like a cow in a matchbox, so unlikely and unconvincing that it seems even by standards of Mamma Mia.

However, the film soon finds its gloriously witty rhythm and, even if you've spent the last ten years without giving a Greek fig, why exactly Sophie was not sure of her fatherhood? A scandal between Sam (Brosnan), Harry (Firth) and Bill (Stellan Skarsgard) – or, in fact, how Donna ended up on a Greek island in the first place and formed the singing group Dynamos with her two best friends, it is possible that be surprised at how pleasant it is to discover it.

The action continues to leap in time, between Sophie's plans for an opening party, which was attended, of course, by Rosie and Tanya (Julie Walters and Christine Baranski, respectively) and events a generation earlier.

Alexa Davies, in particular, is wonderfully funny as Rosie's youngest incarnation.

In fact, all the younger versions are remarkably well emitted. Jessica Keenan Wynn is a great couple for Baranski, and Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner and Josh Dylan do solid work like Sam, Harry and Bill in their overcrowded days.

Andy Garcia also has a ball, as the hotel manager twinkly. He is in the midst of a moment in his career, as he also played a plate that ages in the disappointing Book Club.

Best of all, Cher blows like a storm like Grandma Sophie barely knows.

In the annals of great musical numbers, Cher in a Joan Rivers wig singing a famous song by Abba might not be as good as Gene Kelly singing in the rain, but it is hard to suppress a shout of joy when she sees Garcia's silver fox and his name cries, which is, of course, Fernando.

As with the first film and the successful musical that generated it, it is not right to say that the Mamma Mia 2 songs are used for the weakest stories.

It's the other way around: the weak narrative is there to service the songs.

But that has not stopped the British writer and director Ol Parker from creating something absolutely charming here, a triumph of pure and undemanding escapism.

Perhaps executive producer Richard Curtis also sprinkled some of his own fairy magic dust in the production.

Or maybe Tom Hanks, also an executive producer, launched his famous bonhomie on that.

Whatever it is, there is a lot to enjoy and a burning question: my, my, how can you resist it?

Spitfire (PG)

Verdict: very high documentary


It is very difficult, and I confess that I did not, to see this fabulous documentary about the emblematic fighter plane of the Second World War without shedding a tear.

The surviving pilots of Spitfire are now over 90 years old, the few are becoming less and less and it is very moving to see images of them with fresh faces in uniform while listening to their remarkable reminiscences.

The directors David Fairhead and Ant Palmer only make an error of judgment, which consists in allowing Charles Dance to narrate his film at an almost comical level of sound gravity.

It is very difficult, and I confess that I did not, to see this fabulous documentary about the emblematic fighter plane of the Second World War without shedding a tear.

It is very difficult, and I confess that I did not, to see this fabulous documentary about the emblematic fighter plane of the Second World War without shedding a tear.

It is very difficult, and I confess that I did not, to see this fabulous documentary about the emblematic fighter plane of the Second World War without shedding a tear.

Otherwise, it is absolutely wonderful to listen to these great men and women, such as Joan Fanshawe, one of the so-called group conspirators who meticulously studied the maps where the squadrons needed to be deployed to tell their wartime stories.

Among them is Geoffrey Wellum, 96, whose 2002 memoir First Light made it an unlikely literary sensation.

He describes the importance of never flying level and in a straight line for more than ten seconds, to make it harder to hit.

"Being defeated did not appeal to me," he says cheerfully. The film was made to coincide with the centenary of the foundation of the RAF, and its star is Spitfire, which made its first test flight in March 1936.

Just two days later, Hitler's troops entered the Rhineland and put Nazi Germany on a collision course with the rest of Europe.

When the war broke out, the Luftwaffe had four times more planes than the RAF.

But the Spitfire was faster and more versatile than anything the Germans could muster, thanks to its brilliant designer R. J. Mitchell.

He was immortalized by Leslie Howard in the 1942 film The First of The Few, but died of cancer, at just 42 years old, when his creation so spectacularly helped to win the Battle of Britain.

The agitation of the archival images supports the testimonies of those who were there and now there are some fantastic aerial shots of Spitfires.

Of those who really participated in the Battle of England, only one is still able to fly.

He lives at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, where squad leader Andy Millikin describes him as "the most valuable flying machine on the planet", as well as possibly the Apollo 11 command capsule.

That does not seem too excessive, and it will not do for anyone who sees this movie, as everyone should.

Hotel Artemis (15)

Verdict: rooms to improve


In case you have not seen enough movies set in a dystopian Los Angeles in a few years, here is the Hotel Artemis, which takes place in a Los Angeles ravaged by riots in 2028.

There, a little nurse (Jodie Foster, no less) has a secret hospital for criminals who, presumably, can not get medical attention anywhere else.

The film has many good things, such as Foster, who rarely acts these days, and a charismatic performance by Jeff Bigblum as Mr Big local.

Sofia Boutella is a dazzling French killer, too, but the film, a debut for British writer and director Drew Pearce, is less than the sum of its parts.

Ultimately, it is another LA nightmare-vision movie, too dependent on horrific violence on its own.

Cher terrror! How to play Meryl Streep's mother in the sequel to Mamma Mia left the movie star as a disaster

Interview by Gabrielle Donnelly

Cher in Mamma Mia! Here we go again

Cher in Mamma Mia! Here we go again

Cher in Mamma Mia! Here we go again

She could only be Cher, strutting at Hollywood's modern London Hotel 20 minutes after the appointed time.

"I am the late Cher," she murmurs, expressionless, with her slim figure dressed in layers of black embroidery that resembles her peak of Gypsys pop music, Tramps And Thieves in the seventies, her face framed by a flood of black ringlets jet.

Not only has she won a Grammy, an Emmy, three Golden Globes and an Oscar, she is the only artist who has had a number 1 in each decade since the 1960s.

Now that she is 72 years old, she is about to be seen on the movie screen again, playing the grandmother of hell in Mamma Mia. Here we go again.

So, why is she still in that? "I do not know," he says in that famous guttural grunt. I should be dead. I keep thinking, "I'm too old to do this, why am I working so hard?

Or rather: "Why do people want me to work so much?" But I have always worked with ease and I always had a quick recovery time between projects. I did not even know I was 40 until I was 60 years old.

"I usually choose too many projects at the same time and I end up doing what seems to be more fun." I've gotten into many problems to say, "Oh, that sounds funny," then when I have to, I'm terrified, but that's the way it always is. I've done ".

In the Mamma Mia! sequel, plays Ruby Sheridan, Donna's mother, Meryl Streep (despite being only three years older than Meryl), who appears from nowhere to see her granddaughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried).

Cher has expressed regret for not being able to be part of the first film, particularly for the opportunity to reunite with her old friend and Silkwood co-star, Meryl, due to a programming conflict.

When she appeared on the set of the gang's second exit, then she says she was a little intimidated.

"I was really nervous, everyone else was calm because they had worked together before, I did not know any of them, except Meryl, I knew Pierce Brosnan, but I really did not know him, it was really the new girl."

To make matters worse, she and writer and director Ol Parker, known for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2011, had been hooked before even the filming began.

"I had been nice to him before I met him." When they showed me the script, I did not like the dialogue and I did not see how I would be able to play the woman who had written.

"Then I said," Look, you do not know how to be this woman, I know her, so you have to let me write some things. "

"So we did not have a good start and I went into the set feeling really scared."

It turned out that she did not need to have worried. & # 39; All were so kind. They all said: "Are you okay? Are you comfortable? Are you having a good time?"

"I did not expect that because everyone knew each other well and I did not expect them to treat me like they were among themselves.

"But I have to say it was the easiest set I've ever worked in. I loved the movie because there's comedy, drama and music, and it turned out that Ol was one of the best directors I worked with.

"At a certain point, I was having difficulties with this piece of dialogue, it was silly that I had to say in Spanish and I went over it again and again and could not get it, I knew I was taking everyone's time and that made me more nervous .

"So I went to Ol and I said," I do not know what's going on, I can do this when the camera is not working, but the moment it's running, I can not do it. "So he held out his hand, it was rock stable, and said: "Do you see that hand? Does it look like I'm nervous? "I said:" No. "He said:" Then take it all you need until you do it right. "

"It was like that during the whole process, without tension, no matter how hard the moment was".

One of the best things about filming Cher was the opportunity to hang out with Meryl, with whom she has been an intimate friend for more than 30 years. "We have always kept in touch, we talk and we send emails and things all the time.

"And she did something funny in this movie, I was on the set singing my great song Fernando [her love interest in the film is a character called Fernando, played by Andy Garcia] and I saw this shadowy figure lurking, but I did not pay too much attention because I was singing. But it was Meryl!

"He had sneaked on the set to see me sing and then ran up to me screaming: Meryl screams, did you know? – and we laughed and hugged each other."

Cher adds: "My assistant said he had been there all the time, around the corner where I could not see her, because I wanted to concentrate on the song."

It's another dent in an extraordinary career, but I wonder if she repents. She rolls her eyes. "We do not have enough time to go there," he says. Yes, of course, yes. But then, I think that failure is very underestimated.

"Because when you are succeeding, you never think:" My God, why am I having this? "

"But when you have faults, you think about them." You ruminate, you want to explore. And I think that makes you better. "

My mother! Here We Go Again is in theaters today